All right, there are 47 percent who are with [Obama], who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.
This is one of those public statements that are so rich with multiple layers of irony that you’d think it was faked by a writing teacher. It’s a rare peek behind the mansion doors. Romney, like all financiers and big business people, has made his living using every government subsidy available, starting with his income tax rate. (Here’s a piece,“Romney’s ‘Crony Capitalism’: Bain’s Big Government Subsidies,” outlining the history of his public dependencies. Never mind the billion dollar government bailout of Romney’s Olympics.)
The irony gets a little nastier when you consider that the economic crash, and so the ongoing need of so many for help ranging from food stamps to unemployment insurance, has its roots in the unwavering Republican passion for deregulation and austerity, despite all evidence that these things hinder economic growth, among other things. It’s also a very deceptive statement; we all pay all sorts of other taxes, from social security to property to sales taxes. The poorer we get the fewer people pay income tax because it’s a progressive tax.
Romney assumes that corporate welfare is beyond reproach and everyone else’s public support suspect. The last irony is that this reveals more about Romney’s class biases and politics than just about anything else in the campaign, with the sole exception of his wife’s comment that, “We’ve given all you people need to know.” This isn’t a politician speaking to citizens, it’s an aristocrat’s habitual complaint about the impossibility of finding a honest servant who will work hard for almost nothing and won’t steal the silverware.